Island (Iceland) Slide Show

Photographs by Michael Gordon. Personal and non-profit organization use of these images is permitted, including storage and redistribution among personal acquaintances or organization memberships. Most of these photographs were made with a Mamiya C330 medium format camera (7 cm or 2.25 inch square) and others were made with an Olympus OM-2 35mm camera.

START (click here)

Here is a selection of 40 photographs made in 1985 and 1986. Iceland is modernizing itself rapidly and the present appearance of Iceland may differ somewhat from these photographs. Each is 700 pixels wide, except the tall ones (portrait format) which are about 640 pixels high. Some of them have my handwritten notes at the bottom of the image, a few have notes in the image, and some have no notes at all. On the home page is some words on how to read the characters on some of these photographs; Icelandic has 39 characters -- English only 26. i

Icelandic language is descriptive as to place names. Svarta'dalur (said somewhat like "svart-au-dalr") transliterated to English means "black [svart] river [a'] valley [dalur]". A committee exists for the purpose of creating Icelandic names for new things, in particular technology items, to avoid diluting the Icelandic language. Interestingly, many people who are not Icelanders have set up web pages to suggest new words for the Icelandic language because of its descriptive properties.

In the summer sunlight shines more or less round the clock. Consequently you drive until you are tired, sleep a bit, and go some more. Another consequence is that shadows are NOT a reliable indicator of direction unless you know what time it is -- at noon, the sun is south, at midnight, the sun is north is pretty much the way it works.

The heath, or tundra, is home to many birds -- terns, jeagers, fulmars, but most delightfully the Heithloa or Golden Plover whose call rings out clearly and with pure music over the landscape. In contrast to the frequently bleak weather, the call of the Heithloa brings cheer to all that hear it. Like many plovers, they are smart and will lead you away from their nest, which is a good thing because you could easily step on the eggs and never see them.

Iceland is volcanic, much of it recently flowed. The result is astonishing landscapes and striking contrast between black rock, dark water, and white snow and coulds. It is ideal for black and white photography. Color does exist, particularly in Reykjavik where citizens excel at colorful gardens, sculpture, and decorated interiors.

START (click here)

You can also start the show from any of these photographs: